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More than 270 traffic offences detected in Weston-super-Mare road safety operation

A female road safety police officer in uniform standing and smiling at the camera, with a police car and the wreckage of a car involved in a collision behind her. On the right side, there is a pop-up stand with road safety in big letters clearly visible and two male police officers and a female member of the public in conversation in front.

A proactive roads policing day of action took place in Weston-super-Mare last week to target unsafe drivers and engage the public in conversations about road safety.

Operation Toro, which took place on Wednesday 20 March, is part of an ongoing drive to raise awareness of the factors that contribute most greatly to serious and fatal road traffic collisions, commonly known as the ‘Fatal Five’ – speed, seatbelts, careless driving, use of mobile phones and drink/drug driving.

Education and Engagement

In the town centre, officers from the Road Safety, Neighbourhood and Mounted teams provided a visible and reassuring presence, engaging with members of the local community to provide road safety advice.

On display was a badly damaged car that was involved in a fatal collision in Bridgwater in November 2022. Luke Hawkes, 28, was jailed for dangerous driving after he ran a red light in his Ford Transit van and hit the Citroen DS3 in which Bethany Branson, 19, was a passenger. Tragically, she died at the scene. The car has been donated to the Road Safety Team with the permission of Bethany’s family for ongoing educational use. It serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of dangerous driving.

Road Safety Officer PC Daniel Cox said: “We saw a range of reactions from the members of the public we spoke to today. Many expressed sadness and disbelief at the sight of the crumpled car; and anger that despite the well-known risks, drivers continue to make reckless choices that endanger lives.

“I feel that they went away armed with a greater understanding of how we can all play our part in keeping the roads safe.”


Enforcement activity was also a key part of Operation Toro, with speed enforcement units, Roads Policing officers and the Drone team working across the area to proactively identify motorists committing traffic offences, with a particular emphasis on the Fatal Five.

Results achieved from the day of action:
233 speed detections, with a top speed recorded of 96mph on the M5
5 uninsured vehicles seized
1 fixed penalty notice issued for use of a mobile phone at the wheel
7 drivers identified and reported for not wearing a seatbelt
1 driver arrested for drug driving following a roadside drug swab
1 illegal motorbike seized
13 illegal vehicle number plates reported

Officers also attended a car fire at the M5 junction 21 slip road and worked with Avon Fire and Rescue colleagues to make the area safe.

Chief Inspector Robert Cheeseman, Roads Policing lead at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Committing any of the Fatal Five offences dramatically increases the likelihood of being involved in a fatal or serious injury collision.

“It is essential that we hammer the message home, through a consistent policy of education and enforcement, that dangerous and careless driving can and does result in tragedy.

“We will continue to actively target those drivers who deliberately flout the law and put themselves and other road users at risk. But we also need the public to drive change. Tell us if you have information about dangerous driving on our roads. You can do this by contacting Crimestoppers with information; or by uploading JourneyCam footage via our website, which will be reviewed and acted upon if an offence has been committed. In an emergency, always call 999.”

North Somerset Inspector Lee Kerslake added: “On behalf of the North Somerset policing team I’d like to express my thanks to all officers involved in this operation. Their presence on the roads and in the town centre created a noticeable impact and the fantastic results from the day are helping to make our roads safer for all.”

About Operation Toro

Operation Toro is Avon and Somerset Police’s response to target road users who pose the greatest risk to others on the roads. Alongside community engagement, it aims to proactively identify motorists found committing offences, with a particular focus on targeting matters that contribute most greatly to serious and fatal road traffic collisions, commonly known as the ‘Fatal Five’ – speed, seatbelts, careless driving, use of mobile phones and drink/drug driving.

Nationally, some 1,700 people die on UK roads each year, while a further 25,000+ people are seriously injured. Within Avon and Somerset Police, over the past 10 years, one person has either been killed or seriously injured on our roads each day.

Operation Toro is supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset and comes in response to the Home Office’s Strategic Policing Requirement document, which, for the first time, has included roads policing. This document sets priorities that all police forces must address, recognising the importance of roads policing in disrupting crime and preventing harm.

The operation is coordinated and led by the Road Policing Tactical Support Team, working collaboratively with:

– Road Safety (Fatal5) Enforcement Team
– Neighbourhood Policing Teams
– Special Constabulary
– Mounted Policing
– Drone Unit
– Intelligence Team
– Driver Training Unit

For further information, email: roadsafety@avonandsomerset.police.uk